Description

As a photographer, I had long been driven to contribute to conservation. I paid particular attention to plant and animal groups with many members, because they challenged me to critically examine the habitats each species takes advantage of. The nineteen species of North American owls are difficult to find and photograph. But if I were successful, I might be rewarded with powerful images that could move viewers and motivate them to protect these intriguing birds. Wildlife photography has taught me to slow down and pay greater attention. I remember overhearing a man sitting next to me on an airplane as he pointed out the window to the conifers of the Cascades below and explained to his son, ‘All those environmentalists want to protect the trees for owls, but look at all those trees—we have more than enough.’ That comment saddened me, but served as a reminder that our lives now are so removed from the natural world, we risk accidentally eliminating what we fail to see. -Paul Bannick